Friday, 21 February 2020

A. M. Howell - The House of One Hundred Clocks - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

The first book published in 2019 by A. M. Howell was Garden of Lost Secrets. It is a deliciously enchanting tale that has been loved by many readers and longlisted for the Branford Boase award.  The next book, published this month (6 February 20020) by Usbourne Publishing, is The House of One Hundred Clocks. The fantastic book cover illustration is by Finish illustrator Saara Katariina Söderlund. Saara's work is inspired by nature which enables her to create some amazing artwork. This book cover is another inspired piece which really does give the book the best start towards its journey onto many bookshelves for readers to enjoy.

The House of One Hundred Clocks is set in the Edwardian period of June 1905. The book was inspired by a trip to Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds. The tick-tock of many clocks planted a story idea that grows into a chiming fantasy. I'm sure that it will strike a chord with many readers. The fantastic plot takes the reader down the fantasy hole of intrigue and adventure where you will be hooked, claws first, into a spirited narrative that starts the brain ticking.

Helena and her father have moved to Cambridge with her loveable pet parrot - a blue-fronted Amazon parrot called Orbit. Her father has been appointed clock-winder to a rather amazing collection of timepieces belonging to one of the richest men in England. Her father agrees to a bizarre contract which raises the stakes of the plot and adds a nervous tension: THE CLOCKS SHOULD NEVER STOP.  

This story hurtles the reader into a mysterious household with many secrets and a hidden past. It's a very descriptive story that creates a spooky atmosphere. The author explores the Edwardian time period by weaving historical factual elements into the story. For example, Women's rights, inventions like the TELEPHONE and other social changes that were starting to take place. One of my personal favourites includes the development of flight which makes the story come alive and adds a sense of wonderment to the plotline.

This story is a joy to read. It captures the heart with many poignant moments of friendship, family, hope, and moving on. Both sets of characters have lived through tragic life experiences that propel the story with action, fear, ghostly encounters, strange noises, and a bird reciting nursery rhymes. It has the traits of a classic story with a brilliant ending to satisfy the reader. It will leave you with a sense of loss and happiness which will make you reflect on life and time. It's definitely time to pop it on your to-read pile.

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